"I don't think it's appropriate to appoint three individuals who previously worked for the Bloomberg administration," said Panel for Educational Policy member Patrick Sullivan. "We need more independence than that."
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries criticized the panel choices:
“It appears that the deck has been stacked in favor of granting the waiver in a manner that will further undermine public confidence in the appointment of Ms. Black.”
Former Steiner colleague and current chairman of the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Boston University Stephan Ellenwood told the NY Times that he would have expected more panelists to come from academia.
“I don’t know how he got this list,” Dr. Ellenwood said. “It surprises me. The membership of it seems quite uneven.”
So what was UFT president Michael Mulgrew's response to the panel choices?
He likes them:
But Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, the city teachers’ union, said, “All of these people have heavy-duty backgrounds and success in education, so obviously David Steiner is clearly looking at this from the educational side, as he should be.”
Over half the people on the panel have ties to Bloomberg. Three worked for Joel Klein. The panel was very publicly stacked in favor of Bloomberg and Black.
Why won't Mulgrew say that?
Is it because, as many of us in the UFT dissident faction have been saying for years, the UFT leadership is on the Bloomberg payroll too?
Because this Black appointment is just one more issue that Mulgrew and the UFT leadership have half-assed.
First Mulgrew sounded like he liked the appointment.
Then when opposition galvanized against her, he made a public statement against the appointment process Bloomberg used.
Now that Steiner has clearly loaded the waiver panel with Bloomberg shills to rubber stamp the Black appointment and give Steiner political cover to grant the waiver, Mulgrew can't bring himself to join the other skeptics of the commission and at least point out that the process was rigged in favor of Mayor Moneybags.
Mulgrew is worse than useless as UFT head.
Like Randi Weingarten before him, he seems to be playing a delicate balancing act to do just enough to make the majority of the membership think he's looking out for their interests while he undercuts those interests by cutting deals with Bloomberg and/or just playing the issues badly.
He did this with the mayoral election by not paying for a poll to see if Bloomberg was actually vulnerable (which he was.)
He did this by screwing up the contract negotiations - if he was going to purposely sit out the election in order to make Bloomberg happy, he needed to get a deal signed BEFORE the election (Randi is to blame for this too.)
He screwed up the school closures lawsuit by allowing the DOE to underadmit students to the schools that had been slated for closure and by letting the DOE co-site other schools in those buildings, thus ensuring they'll be closed this year.
He caved on the test scores/teacher evaluations deal back in the spring that now ties 40% of teacher evaluations to test scores. And as usual with a UFT cave-in, he declared victory afterward by saying he had "limited" the test score part of the evaluation to 40%. Really, Mike? Some states have 0% of teacher evals tied to test scores.
So here we have one more sell-out from Mulgrew and the UFT, one more badly played shot in a rigged game of pool.
It's a no-brainer to slam the Steiner panel as loaded with Bloomberg shills, or to at least point out that a panel that has over 50% of its members with ties to Bloomberg just might not be "objective."
Instead Mulgrew provides cover for Steiner, for the panel and for Bloomberg and shows just how skilled he is at handling every issue badly.